Updated May 11, 2022

First grid-scale solar project opened in Ireland

The first grid-scale solar project to connect to the national grid under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) has been opened by Eamon Ryan, the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications.

The RESS is an auction-based scheme, which invites renewable electricity projects to bid for capacity.

The project is located on the Millvale solar farm close to Ashford in Co. Wicklow and is now providing electricity to the national grid. The solar farm has a capacity of 8MW and occupies 25 hectares and has 33,600 solar modules. The solar modules are potentially able to power 3,600 homes every year which could help to prevent up to 4,800 tonnes in CO2 emissions.

This project from renewable energy company Neoen is one of three to reach commercial operation under RESS 1, and the first solar project to reach commercial operation.

Minister Eamon Ryan said: "The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is one of the primary policies set out in the Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan to address Ireland’s climate challenges over the coming years. It supports the growth of the green economy, creates sustainable work opportunities and benefits citizens, as renewable energy becomes more cost effective and replaces fossil fuels such as coal and peat."

The Irish Solar Energy Association commented that solar energy "must and will be a major part" of Ireland's decarbonisation, with Ireland historically more reliant on onshore wind for renewable electricity.